Such weight

Last night was a big night for writing. I got 3500 words (maybe more) down in the book. I also finished reading a resource for the travel blog and by the time I passed out at around 2am, I was ready to start the whole thing over again today, bright and early.

The crazy thing about writing, for me at least, is how when you are in it, you don’t want to stop. It’s like a runner’s high almost. The words just flow. But as I sit here this morning, with a kernel of an idea in my mind, there is that resistance that I have to overcome. That piece that says what I’m going to write is going to be garbage and I’m just making more work for myself, or worse yet, wasting my time.

Steven Pressfield goes on about this at length in his books. He calls Resistance the one true evil force in this world, and you know, I think he is right. But it’s more than Resistance, it’s a weight you feel. For me, I have the weight of writing the book and also the weight of getting out there and marketing myself for freelance gigs, travel writing, and pitching places to visit. I also have a few more books I need to read. That alone is tough, since for most of my life, reading has always been a sign that you don’t have anything better to do.

Even in college it was hard to escape that feeling. What? You want me to read 1000 pages by the end of the week? Yes, I know I’m an English major, but I’ve got stuff to do. Work. Other classes. Parties. I just don’t have time. Even though the entire point of some of my classes were to read the books they gave us, more often than not I found myself falling asleep as I read them, or just faking it in discussion the next day and getting decent grades anyway. So when I tell myself that part of my job as a writer is to also READ, it’s often very hard. It just doesn’t feel like work. It feels like screwing around.

Also, my kid and my dog take strong positions against my just sitting there quietly reading when I should be entertaining them.

Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day and if I do what I want at that moment, such as today, which is to work on the book, I feel like it’s Wednesday and then I get this moment of panic that says the week is burning off and I need to send out some more queries or pitches. Those take more brain power than writing the book, if you can believe that. As does writing copy for companies.

Resistance is one thing, but sometimes it feels like I’m trying to push too many cows through the chute at once. Then it’s hard to get any one thing accomplished. Working for yourself is much different than sitting on your ass at a desk all day, waiting for someone to drop an assignment on your lap and throwing an arbitrary deadline at you while they bugger off to Thailand or something.

I don’t miss that one bit, but sometimes it’s a little unnerving to think that I have to work twice as hard if I want to be my own boss.

So, today I’m going to do what I can. I’ll start off with what I’m inspired to do and then work in the stuff I have to do later when the creative process is still warmed up.

Discouragement

Today I’m posting here because I’m still working on setting up the other website. I have been needing to write and lately, my procrastination has known no limits. Yesterday, my son and I mudded the room we have been working on for a few weeks. And by working on it, I mean my dad and I put up drywall and the process was pretty exhausting, and all I have had the heart to do is fill in some seams with caulking.

Yesterday, the kiddo and I mudded the heck out of the seams and the screw holes. Today, we sanded them smooth. It isn’t professional quality by any means but we did it together and had a good time in the process. To finish off procrastinating for the night, I also washed the dog. it has been a couple months since her last bath and in the meantime, she had rolled on the beach, played fetch in the dirt, and probably drunk out of the toilet a dozen times or more.

Right now she is whining at the front door, asking to go out, because what bath is complete without rolling around in the dust with wet fur? None!

This isn’t my first rodeo with wet dogs, so I am ignoring her right now.

So, the title of this post. It’s not about procrastination or dogs or home DIY. It’s about words that I have heard many times (and yes, I have been guilty of saying them myself) that just knock the wind out of anyone’s sails.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been excited about going somewhere and been met with the most lethal words you can experience when it comes to going on an adventure. Ready? You’ve been warned…

“What would you want to go there for?”

There. Bad grammar and ending a sentence in a preposition is just the icing on the cake. Asking someone “Why would you want to go there?” isn’t much better. I’ve heard these words many times. They used to really hit home. I usually heard them from family, friends, random people I was talking with over drinks (which is why I’m probably not much fun at a bar anymore), or especially someone who has already been to the place I’m daydreaming about.

It’s just like the question they ask mountaineers who climb sheer mountain faces. The answer: because it’s there.

Or in my case, “Why the hell not?”

Sure, it’s less poetic, but they’ve already pissed me off. The thing about going anywhere is whether it is the perfect destination or not is all a matter of perspective. Going to an active warzone like Afghanistan or Myanmar might not be what I’m looking for in an adventure, but who am I to say to someone “What would you want to go there for?” I wouldn’t want to go there myself. Because I’m allergic to having my head cut off, but I do have all sorts of allergies other people don’t.

What’s worse is I have said these words myself. I try to check myself, but sometimes they just fall out of my mouth. I’m not always good at this. I have judged someone’s destination, wrongfully, and found myself chewing on size 10.5 shoeleather. It’s not my business. And making it such says more about me than it does about them.

I’ve caught myself lately saying this, and…crap, I just remember all the times someone else said it to me.

“What would you want to go there for?”

As though I am so ignorant to not understand the drawbacks literally everywhere in the world has. I’m an American, and I have seen that to much of the rest of the world, we are notorious for having mass shootings and shitty healthcare. Does that mean that nobody should ever come here to visit? I’ve been confronted by others who have said, “Hawaii? What would you want to go there for?” Apparently people fear headlice so much that they have crossed Literal Tropical Paradise off their destination list. I was put off on visiting India for 20 years because someone I was married to was freaked out about food poisoning.

Every place has its degree of suck, which is why you do your homework and figure out how to avoid that. Just as you would with finding out what is going to more than make up for it if you can’t avoid the suck.

Not everyplace is everyone’s cup of tea. But there are better ways to have conversations about this. If you want to go someplace, don’t let someone’s prejudices about them overshadow your interest. Sometimes people are just travel snobs. They look down on your ambitions by indicating you are some kind of rube when they are so worldly. Look at all the stamps they have in their passport! Granted most of them are just from stepping off a cruise ship for three hours before getting back on again. But hey, whatever…floats their boat.

My advice is this. Go back to the fifth grade and spin that globe. Hold your finger over it and where it stops, consider it at least. We are only here for a set number of rotations around the sun. Might as well enjoy the journey.

And don’t discourage other people with things like “Too dangerous, too commercial, I’ve been there and it wasn’t that great”. Bullshit. We all don’t like the same things. Don’t assume they will get the same experience or feel the same way you did about a destination.

Blocking

You know what else has been blocked besides the Suez Canal? Me! So, I’m posting today to talk about ways to overcome those blocks and hopefully some of this advice rubs off on myself.

I recently moved my hosting for my travel blogging website to a new domain host. This is the second time I have done this, and I’m hoping the third host is the charm. Some of the problems I have experienced is the learning curve for things like this. Honestly so much of it is fumbling my way through the dark and realizing at the end of it that if you just pump a little bit more money into it, it would work.

People make money off the internet, whether it is TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or back in the day some personal blogs that went viral. The best use for a website nowadays is using it like a storefront, or marketing yourself. I have never been able to get my sites to monetize properly. Even when I had a trial affiliation with Amazon. Not a single shiny nickel was paid out for the links I had plastered all over my sites. But a kid on TikTok blows salad all over his friend with a leafblower and he has new Nikes for the next three years.

So, as I sat there all week, trying to figure out how to rebuild my website and how to do it right this time, I could feel that frustration begin to build. My mom asked me how I was doing on things in an almost “Get a move on” tone and we even wound up discussing my renovations on the house which have stalled after putting up drywall. On the weeks where my son is with me, the majority of any day is letting him use the computer, because schools demand that a kid stare at his lessons for at least six hours a day, rather than just letting them do the work and turn it in. When he’s on my computer for school, I’m not on my computer for work. But it is considered vital for a bunch of ten year olds to Zoom in every day like some split frame movie with a frustrated and bedraggled teacher at their epicenter.

So I’ll save the renovations for when he’s doing school.

I have pitches to make, queries to locations too, and unfortunately a lot of that hinges on having a decent website to refer people to. If you are a writer and hate building synopsises or pitches that is 99% of what I have going on right now. So rather than beat my head against the wall, I decided to write today. It is the second day I’ve been writing instead of fighting DNS and ICANN and Registrars and all sorts of other web-fuckery.

It felt so good to write. Even though it was right in the middle of the story and I don’t even know if I can use it. It was necessary.

Like that freighter blocking up the Suez Canal I had too many things going on at once and by just ignoring some of them I got to do something that felt good for my soul. I made coffee, poured it into my favorite mug, and sat down and just started writing. Now my head is clear for other things, and I have a train of thought that I can use to continue working on the story because that (as much as I enjoy doing it) is work too. I’m not a web designer. I don’t know about proxies or a lot of that technical crap. But I can write content, I know about SEO, and it would be great just to get to that instead of screwing with the technical stuff that a webhost always says is going to be easy, but really isn’t.

Anyway, as the weekend approaches, if you find yourself in a bind, remember to do something that fuels your soul. All the rest of your problems just might figure out a way to go with the flow.